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Jakarta Post

ITE Law revision makes little difference: Activist

  • Evi Mariani
    Evi Mariani

    The Jakarta Post

News Desk   /   Mon, November 28, 2016   /  05:41 pm
ITE Law revision makes little difference: Activist Yusniar, a defendant in a defamation case concerning a Facebook status, kisses the ground on Thursday after the Makassar District Court in South Sulawesi suspended her detention and changed it to city arrest. (JP/Andi Hajramurni)

Social media activist Enda Nasution has said revisions to Law No. 11/2008 on information and electronic transactions (ITE) will not affect freedom of expression on social media.

“Netizens on social media, I’m sure, will continue to learn and become smarter because Indonesians will learn from past cases or mistakes,” Enda said as quoted by Antara news agency.

According to Safenet, since 2008 there have been 169 incidents in which netizens have been reported for broadcasting messages on social media. The most prominent cases involved Prita Mulyasari in 2008; a debate between lawyer Farhat Abbas and musician Ahmad Dhani on Twitter in 2014; and university student Florence in 2014, who insulted Yogyakarta.

Among the latest cases are those involving human rights activist Haris Azhar and Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama.

“The revision doesn’t make much difference to freedom of expression, neither improving nor oppressing,” he said.

Enda said Indonesia should have followed other countries’ lead by making defamation on the internet a civil matter rather than criminal. “The sanction is fine,” he said.

Press Legal Aid Institute executive director Nawawi Bahrudin begged to differ. He said the revision should have revoked Article 27, paragraph 3 of the law altogether, instead of only reducing the punishment from six to four years’ imprisonment.

He also commented on Article 26, which stipulates the right to be forgotten, whereby a source can request the deletion of past news. “This could lead to censorship of past news,” he said. (evi)

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